Rory McIlroy the real Celtic Tiger as Florida win puts him on top of the world

Rory McIlroy with his trophy after winning the Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy is now officially the best golfer in the world – and loving every minute of his new found status.

The 22-year-old Ulsterman become the second youngest golfer ever to reach the top spot thanks to his win at Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday.

Only Tiger Woods, who challenged McIlroy for the Palm Beach title with a blistering 62 in Sunday’s final round, had previously topped the world ratings at a younger age.

US Open champion McIlroy is now guaranteed even more millions of dollars after becoming the first Irishman to hit number one in the golf charts.

And his timing is perfect – just a month before he returns to Augusta and the scene of his Masters collapse last April.

“It’s very special,” said McIlroy. “When I was 10 or 11 I was interviewed and said I wanted to be the best player in the world and I wanted to win majors.

“I got the Major last year and now I have the top spot in the world. It really is a dream come true and I am delighted.”

Mum Rosie and dad Gerry were on hand to watch McIlroy top the world ratings with this win at the Jack Nicklaus course.

He added: “It was tough today, especially seeing Tiger make a charge.

“I knew par golf would probably be good enough and that’s what I was trying to do, so to shoot one under is very nice and I was able to get the job done.

“My short game all week has been very good and it’s what you need on a tough course like this. You know you are not going to hit every green.”

McIlroy deserves his latest accolade on form alone. Since the USPGA Championship last August he has played in 11 ranking events and finished outside the top five in only one of them.

“I’d like to stay there for a while,” he continued. “As long as I keep playing good golf and have chances to win tournaments, then hopefully I’ll stay up there.

“I feel the way I’m playing at the minute, the level of consistency, hopefully I’m going to be able to stay there for a while.”

Girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, tennis world number one since January’s Australian Open, tweeted from New York: “Amazing performance. Tournament win and new world number one. Deserves a good celebration.”

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